The Value of Internships

Welp, Summer has come and gone, and with that, so have most of our internships. In their place, many hope for full time offers or are seeking employment elsewhere. We’re getting closer to honing in on what are the most important things we want out of our careers as far as culture, job function, location, etc etc etc are concerned. But most importantly, we all came back…different people. We’re more knowledgeable not just about business and what we want to do, but who we are.

I personally consider my internship experience invaluable. I found a company that cares about business outcomes AND people. One of the drivers of my company’s success is the fact that they care about their people. They want their people to develop and they want their people to be happy. And they work hard to achieve that.

I’m fortunate enough to have an offer from this company that is not only willing to work with my school schedule, but also fully understand that I have a son who is my first priority.

My internship experience and events over the Summer have made me feel like a different person. I’m so excited about my future and where it’s taking me. Lastly (but not least), I’m STOKED to be back in school (really – but I’ll be singing a different tune come December). Bring on football season!

Go Bucks!

No Diggity, No Doubt

Three fantastic things have happened this semester.

1. I correctly predicted how long it would be for me to write another Fisher Grad Life blog post.

I was definitely right when I insinuated this semester was going to keep me busy. The best part? I have enjoyed the chaos. The classes have been interesting and filled with invaluable content – most of which is almost immediately applicable to a Human Resource Professional’s current job or internship.

2. I have gotten to know my classmates better (which is a HUGE feat when you have an *almost* three year old).

One of the best pieces of advice I can give to incoming business students (MHRM or other), take the time to get to know your classmates. Sure, networking with them is great. But more importantly, establishing real connections with people in the same boat as you will offer you lasting support and friendships. Whether you go to Thirsty Scholar at the completion of the week, or you sit by the same people in every class, GET TO KNOW YOUR PEERS. This will define your experience at Fisher almost more than anything else.

Lastly…,

3. I HAVE AN INTERNSHIP (and, consequently, I found a fantastic daycare for my kid). Saying I’m “excited” to start my internship is an understatement. The projects, the brand, and the people I’ll be working with make me beyond excited to begin. I can’t wait to fill you in when I get back.

 

Back To Life, Back To Reality.

Firstly – and hopefully not to your chagrin – as a stay at home mom, I’m not going to post about the events happening around campus as much as other students because there is a shortage of babysitters (especially during the day) who will take pity on this broke mom drowning in student debt and babysit a wild 2 1/2 year old for free. The intention of the majority of my posts is to provide helpful information for potential students about the MHRM program (WHICH IS AWESOME. Not biased at all). BUT, I will include an adorable picture of my husband and son at Zoo Lights (a must see around the holidays) in this post. Bonus: my kid recently got glasses and looks like Ralphie in the picture.

Zoo Lights
Zoo Lights

After a nice long, break, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. I’m intimidated by the workload of this semester but am also incredibly excited by my courses.

The first semester of your first year is generally filled with pretty basic, introductory-type stuff. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to work hard, but it may not be as mentally taxing as you’d expect grad school to be. Don’t let that fool you.

This second semester will be filled with data analytics, hours long excel assignments, an apparently huge project (some students have told me their final group paper was 60+ pages), an impossible change project (the word “impossible” came straight from my professor. According to him, the harder the task will be to complete, the better), and Employment Law.

While that all sounds intimidating – ahem, and I’m speaking for myself here – I’m thrilled to be learning useful information I’m not already familiar with or that is less intuitive then, say, “Business Basics.” (*Disclaimer, the professor of the aforementioned course is entertaining and makes the material fun and interesting even for students familiar with the content.)

Data Analytics is an interesting business function that hasn’t always been utilized the way it can/should be and still isn’t utilized in many companies to its full potential. At the risk of sounding like a brownnoser (I doubt my stats professor will see this anyway because, “Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”), I’m genuinely excited to learn how to use data in my field. Despite the challenging and time-consuming assignments in this course, I’m enjoying myself. While I do like to solve difficult puzzles (including some math problems), I never actually enjoyed my math classes in undergrad because I didn’t see any realistic application in my field of study – and, I like to efficiently use my time. Give me information I can use. In this stats course, I will learn exactly how to apply what I’m learning in my field. I don’t even know how to adequately explain how excited this makes me. Plus, the hugeness of Big Data and how data analysis can be used in business intrigues me.

Which brings me to my staffing class. Did you know the most common staffing methods are almost no better than hiring people at random? With the use of data, businesses can more effectively hire the right people for the right job. My group and I get to turn in a hefty book paper that explains this in detail. Saweeet!

Employment Law is also a highly interesting class and has brought up issues I never knew existed. The group project for this class will be time consuming but fun.

With that said, I gotta go study/write/work on a project/play with my kid. You might not hear from me for 3 months.

Aaaaand, We’re Done! And we’re starting up again soon …

I’m having a hard time comprehending how quickly last semester flew by – especially the second portion of it. Here we are, roughly 7 weeks from our other 7 week courses and I genuinely feel like it’s only been two to three weeks.

I can’t say it enough, but I’m fully enjoying this program. The information learned so far has been invaluable. In addition to information passed to me from instructors, the different perspectives of my peers have added significant value to this program. The Fisher College of Business is very deliberate in their selection process and the unique perspectives, backgrounds, and cultures of my fellow classmates have made that clear. The friendships I’m developing will most assuredly follow me through life.

Winter Break has been be a nice, *almost* month long break. I spent my time indoctrinating my 2.5 year old with Santa Claus and Rudolph, stayed in my pajamas all day, everyday, playing with my dogs, and not cleaning my house. It was a successful break.

Happy Holidays, everyone! And welcome back to campus (shortly)!

If You’ve Ever Wanted to Sleepover at School…

You’ll have the chance at the Fisher College of Business. Not just once – but TWICE!

Kidding. Sort of.

The Annual Fisher MHRM Internal Case Competition was held the previous weekend (November 7 and 8) and I’m 100% certain I’ve never spent that much time at school in my undergrad – or ever. While this might not sound like the party you’d expect to have during your weekend, it was an absolute blast.

The case competition goes like this: you wake up at an ungodly hour, attempt to make yourself look like a normal person, and arrive at school by 7:30am (how on earth did I do this on the regular when I was in high school?) Don’t worry; coffee and breakfast are supplied. Shortly after, you’ll be given case rules and then be presented with a live case*. Once the case has been introduced, you break into your (previously determined) teams and begin to come up with a viable solution for the company which presented the case. Some teams may finish quickly…others may not finish until well after midnight. My experience was the latter.

Despite being in the same room on campus for more than 15 hours, the time flew by because our team was coming up with great ideas as well as having a great time (pretty sure we played Taylor Swift’s new album at least three times).

The next day we had to be on campus again at 7:30am. More coffee – more breakfast. We were then given our presentation times and set out into our team rooms to practice our pitch. We definitely played T. Swift a few more times to harness some positive juju.

Nerves were high until we were in front of the judges ready to present. Rather than a lecture-like presentation which we’ve all experienced when presenting a project for class, the presentation is very conversational. The judges ask questions, you answer. Generally, your classmates don’t have a ton of questions for you regarding your presentation. But many of the judges are from the company which presented the case or a company facing a similar problem. They want to know why you came up with the solutions you came up with. Everyone in the room is very engaged. You’re allotted 25 minutes to present your solution and most people still have plenty they want to say when the time is up.

My suggestions for anyone interested in participating in the case competition: bring a pillow and blanket (kidding – sort of); get up and walk around when you’ve been sitting for too long; make sure you’re well-fed and hydrated (food and beverages are provided the whole day. Take advantage of that); you’re not given enough time to present all of your ideas – pick two to three of your best ideas and prepare to go into detail about them; have proof about why your ideas will work – while businesses generally value creativity, they also value results. Prove that your solutions will give them what they want.

Most importantly – HAVE FUN.

*Case details are omitted for confidentiality.

First Round of 7 Week Courses = DONE!

Is it just me, or is this program flying by?

We just completed our first round of 7 week courses (out of eight rounds). OSU just recently switched from quarters to semesters so there are still some courses that can be considered “quarter classes.” My undergrad was organized in typical semesters so this was a big difference for me and I was a pinch worried about it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that 7 week courses shake things up a bit and keep things interesting. The switch to the new subject matter offered by the new courses is a fun change and keeps your mind sharp.

The only con I can find regarding these quick courses is that the subject matter of the course may require more time. Other than that, I genuinely appreciate the change and have found that it makes the semester fly by. The end of the 7 week courses marks the middle of the semester and I can’t believe that much time has already passed.

The completion of these courses comes with final tests, projects, and papers. While that may seem overwhelming on top of your other 14 week courses, it was incredibly doable (even with a two year old) AND I’ve still been able to watch The Walking Dead.

The next thing to tackle is the Case Competition.

(To be continued…)

 

Time Management: It’s a Thing

This guy set the bar pretty high for the rest of us bloggers when he wrote about his 11-year-old self coming up with a pretty sound proposition for Barnes and Noble employees to let him buy a not-so-11-year-old-friendly CD. But not all of us have that much swagger.

In fact, it was a shock I got into the Fisher MHRM program at all as I tend to stumble over words when put on the spot. One of my interview questions was, “What recent news stories regarding business have you heard?” My response? “Umm…we don’t have cable…but I do know that Bob Costas who reports on the olympics has an eye infection so he just had Matt Lauer take over. Ahem…must be some sort of PR move.” I’m not kidding. My exact thoughts were [insert favorite expletive here]. And you know what happened literally a month and a half earlier? The Target security breach. Face/palm.

What I am good at is time management (great segue, right?) Having an active two-year-old while reading, writing, organizing group projects, and studying for classes has definitely been a challenge. Unlike my undergrad self, I’ve learned that time management is actually a THING. And incredibly helpful (sorry to point out the obvious). What are your priorities? What’s at the top of that list? Get it done. What’s next? Get it done and check that off of your list as well. Repeat repeat repeat.

My main priority: Making sure my kid feels valued. Is he learning? Is he eating? Is he having fun while avoiding activities that have the potential to cause severe injury? Yes? Good. Next thing.

Reading for class. With a two year old, it’s been surprisingly manageable.

Parenting Win
What’s better than making the bed? Teaching a two-year-old about economics and HR’s role within business.

Next priority: studying for tests. In the MHRM program, our first test was almost immediately after the semester began. I have learned that I’m a visual learner (as well as experiential…but generally most everyone learns from experience). I can’t just read and memorize. I have be able to see it it. In my undergrad, I learned a trick that has never let me down: color coding.

I will only take notes in black or blue ink. Before I begin fully studying for a test, I condense my notes from the readings and class into the information I think is the most important and will likely be on the test. Instead of writing these notes in black or blue ink, I use a weird color. Red, pink, green, etc. I then use another color to underline and emphasize things I am positive will be on the test. It ends up looking something like this:

Color Coded Test Notes
Color Coded Test Notes

Using colors I’m not used to seeing in my notes has been a successful study approach for me. It allows me to visualize my study notes. I’m happy to report I did very well on my first test, thanks to time management and color coded test notes.

Rather than focusing on what you’re not-so-good at (like talking about the possible business implications of Bob Costas’ eye infection), focus on what you’re great at. What you’re great at is likely what got you (or will get you) into the Fisher College of Business and will definitely help you succeed in your program.

Time management is my thing. I doubted myself entering grad school with a kid and having different priorities. But after the results of my first test, I know I’ve got this.

Hit the Ground Running with Fisher’s MHRM Program

For a stay-at-home mom, the prospect of going to grad school and immediately beginning to network with established business professionals was overwhelming, to say the least. 

Jill Westerfeld of the Office of Career Management made the transition from stay-at-home mom to graduate student incredibly smooth. She is available to help you perfect your resume, elevator pitch, and will even hold mock interviews with you.
While the balance of home and school life on top of attending networking events seemed ominous at first, the best approach is to take it one day at a time. I personally invested in a planner so I could write things down. Logging events into my phone has proven to be an unsuccessful approach for me but works great for others. Look through your planner or phone calendar every night and plan out what you need to do. Set aside time to study and network while still balancing your home and/or social life. For me, being able to see what I needed to do on paper was significantly less overwhelming than letting things just float around in my brain. This allowed me to adequately plan to get a babysitter for networking events while still having plenty of time to play with my son during the day and get some studying done at night.
The Fisher College of Business and the Office of Career Management do a great job making you feel relaxed about the tasks at hand while still maintaining a sense of urgency about getting an internship. As a very new student, I have found everything to be incredibly doable and your classmates and the second year students are available to help as well.
I have found my connection with recent graduates from the program and second year students to be invaluable. Not only can they offer pep-talks when you feel overwhelmed, their advice about the program paired with Jill Westerfeld’s efforts have made it so I’ve hit the ground running in this program. I can’t wait to see what more this program has to offer.